HEARST, Ont. – A four-goal first period was more than enough as the Hearst Lumberjacks went on to down the Cochrane Crunch 10-1 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Thursday evening at the Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
Finding their skating legs, after the extended layoff, the hometown Lumberjacks opened the scoring nine minutes into the proceedings as William Neeld fed Alexandre Blais in the slot, where he buried a quick shot past the outstretched pad of Cochrane netminder Ben DiGiallonardo.
A two-man advantage helped Hearst go up by a pair with Robbie Rutledge finishing off a quick pass from Riley Klugerman, from close range, for his NOJHL-leading 24th tally of the campaign.
A third Lumberjacks tally came late in the first period with Maxandre Pelletier picking the corner from a sharp angle to put the hosts up by three.
Not done there, Hearst added another before the intermission on a Cody Walker marker at 18:53 as he buried the rebound off a Mason Bazaluk backhand.
The Lumberjacks kept coming and tacked on three more early in the middle stanza with Rutledge deflecting a Dylan Ford point shot for his 25th, while Tyler Patterson and Jaxson Holmes also converted.
Cochrane did get on the board at 1:54 with Mark Hill whipping one in from the top of the crease as he beat Hearst starter Matteo Gennaro.
The Hearst power play helped make it 8-1 with the recently acquired Patterson lifting in his second of the night and as a member of the Lumberjacks, with a rising backhander at 12:17.
Brayden Palffi then kept the goals coming for his side as he scored from the top of the crease, with an even-strength effort a few minutes later.
Play in the final frame saw Holmes round out the scoring in the back half of the third as Holmes went upstairs on Michael Nickolau, who had entered the contest after an apparent injury to DiGallonardo.
In all, eight different skaters were credited with multi-point nights for Hearst while goaltender Gennaro improved to 8-2-0-2 in his rookie season with the club.